Is the Lumia 830 an upgrade or sidegrade to the Lumia 920?

The Nokia Lumia 830 is starting to hit store shelves worldwide, including the widespread availability in Canada starting today on Rogers, Telus, and Fido. Depending on where you fall on your phone usage and expectations, the Lumia 830 may be a practical upgrade from your current Windows Phone.

Today, we are taking a closer look the Lumia 920 versus the Lumia 830. Although the former was the Windows Phone star back in 2012, the Lumia 830 is positioned slightly below that as an 'affordable flagship'.

How well matched is the Lumia 830 against the Lumia 920? Let's find out.


We are using the free and cross-platform Basemark II OS app to compare the Lumia 830 against the Lumia 920. The app was loaded directly onto the internal memory of each device and not the micro SD card on the Lumia 830.

Related: Nokia Lumia 830 – WPCentral Unboxing and first impressions

Both the Lumia 830 and Lumia 920 in this test are running the latest retail software available – Windows Phone 8.1 and the latest firmware – Lumia Cyan for the Lumia 920, Lumia Denim for the Lumia 830. The Lumia 920 it is currently using build 14176 while the Lumia 830 is running build 14157. Both phones were soft-reset prior to the test, and AC plugged in for power with full batteries.

The test was performed numerous times on each phone with the best runs for both used for the results.


In terms of benchmarks, both the Lumia 830 and Lumia 920 perform similarly. However, the overall edge goes to the Lumia 920, which had a higher score of 514 versus 485 for the Lumia 830.

Breaking the numbers down, and it becomes clear memory and graphics are the weaker points for the Lumia 830. Nonetheless, its higher system score of 599, likely due to its quad-core design, beats out the Lumia 920's lower 485.

The web measurement is nearly identical.

Real-world usage

In regards to how both phones feel and act in the real world, they are equal. Sometimes the Lumia 920 feels smoother, other times the Lumia 830 wins on loading and unloading e.g. Subway Surfers (see the accompanying video). The point is if you happen to enjoy the experience on the Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, you get the same capability with the Lumia 830, sometimes even more.


Running the camera benchmarks reveals that the Lumia 830 has a slight score advantage over the Lumia 920 in normal and low light conditions. The test measures the speed of focus in various conditions with and without a flash.

The Lumia 830 loads the Nokia Camera app about two seconds faster than the Lumia 920, partially due to the shorter-response time in pressing down the camera button to cold-launch the app. However, the Lumia 920's image processing is consistently faster than the Lumia 830's by a little more than one second. This difference in behavior could be explained by the slightly more megapixels on the Lumia 830. Conversely, the Lumia 830 should see more benefits to camera performance with the forthcoming Lumia Camera update.

Image quality

The Lumia 830 has an f2.2 10 MP PureView camera whereas the Lumia 920 has an 8.7 MP PureView camera with a lower f2.0 aperture. Additionally, the Lumia 920 has a slightly larger 1/3.2 inch sensor when compared to the 1/3.4 inch one found on the Lumia 830.

Both cameras have optical-image stabilization (OIS). Another difference is the Lumia 830 gets an extra lens element bringing the total to six versus the older five-lens elements found on the Lumia 920.

In real-world tests, the Lumia 830 outperformed the Lumia 920 in terms of image quality and sharpness. This difference is likely due to the sixth lens element added to the Lumia 830, the higher aperture and newer software (Lumia Denim). As an example, the Lumia 830 tended to have objects with variable distances in focus more often than the Lumia 920, which had a shallower depth-of-field. This result is expected with an f2.0 versus f2.2 comparison.

Colors were often warmer with the Lumia 920 versus the Lumia 830.


The Lumia 830 and Lumia 920 are both excellent examples of quality Windows Phones. What makes the Lumia 830 interesting is the fact it not only matches, but also often excels against the Lumia 920. The Lumia 8xx-series though is understood as being less feature-packed than the 9xx series, but the Lumia 830 demonstrates that two-years let a lot of high-end "stuff" trickle down to lower-cost phones.

Here is where the Lumia 830 offers more than the Lumia 920:

  • Expandable storage with micro SD (up to 128 GB)
  • Removable back cover and battery
  • Larger display (5-inch versus 4.5)
  • Slightly higher megapixel count, better for cropping images
  • 35 grams lighter than the Lumia 920
  • 2 mm thinner than the Lumia 920
  • 200 more mAh in the battery (2200 versus 2000 for the Lumia 920)
  • SensorCore support
  • Newer chipset/more likely to get new features
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 audio recording; better microphone placement on the rear
  • Equalizer works with rear speaker in addition to headphones
  • Brightness Profile for setting default display level
  • Maybe faster at loading large, graphic intensive games

However, while all of that is impressive, for Lumia 920 owners they may want even more, including a newer and faster chipset like the Snapdragon 801 or 805. Currently, it is understood that only the 800-series are getting the passive-voice activated 'Hey Cortana' feature. In this case, either trying to buy a Lumia 930 or to wait for the next big Windows Phone in 2015 is the best bet. The downside with the Lumia 930 is you lose some of those features cited above as benefits with the Lumia 830, like a removable back, expandable memory, and thinner design.

My final thoughts are this: If you are a happy Lumia 920 owner, picking up the Lumia 830 is a splendid "side-grade". You are not getting the latest and greatest hardware on the market, but you are getting (a) comparable, even slightly better, performance (b) a lighter, thinner design (c) a sharper camera, and (d) expandable storage. In my mind, those are all significant "upgrades" to the Lumia 920 but it is up to you whether all of that is enough to throw down some money or renew your contract.

The Lumia 830 is currently on sale around the globe, and it is expected to launch on AT&T for Friday, November 7. Do you need more information? Jump into our dedicated Lumia 830 forums to see what others are saying!